April 17, 2004 Subject:
Third World America
A 1965 film made by the US Department of Agriculture that documents the poverty of an Appalachian county and the humble attempts the people make to better their lives. Their projects are similar to the ones now done in Third World countries. With self-help and micro loans from the government, farmers join together and form cooperatives to fix up their homes and farms. We see the beginnings of the School Lunch program. As children eat breakfast at school (with USDA leftovers) one of the interviewees talks about how good it is that the children dont faint in class from hunger anymore. This film has less narration than most films of this type; the people all speak for themselveseven a woman with her hair in rollers who talks while she peels potatoes. The film emphasizes the multi-racial aspects of poverty (even though we do see mostly poor whites), which makes it ahead of its time. The people are portrayed in a compassionate way that is reminiscent of the photographs done of poor Americans during the WPA. The camera lingers over the run-down homesteads and on the ancient farm equipment. These people represented a vanishing rural America.
March 5, 2004 Subject:
Although it doesnt say, I'm getting the feeling that this film about poverty was shot and focuses on the Southern US (well, the accents give it away!) Very striking exploration of poverty in the 1960's. What I liked about this is that the film talks to the subjects themselves, which provides some real insight into this. (I especially liked the woman who was peeling potatoes while she was talking lol). Some really nice well laid out footage here.